Nov 27, 2017
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with this space next year. I definitely want to keep writing and sharing here, but I think it’s going to be in a very different medium than my blabbering thoughts thrown together before hitting my pillow each night. I think I’ve got a pretty clear vision for what I want my 2018 blogging goal to be, but I’m not ready to share it yet, so instead I thought I’d give some honest insight and reflection about what it’s meant for me to keep this year’s goal: write on my blog every day in 2017.
I guess I should start by saying that, more than anything, it’s been a very positive experience. I really didn’t have a clear vision in mind of what my posts this year would be like. I just knew I wanted to write more. And what’s funny about that is that I’d say about 97% of what I’ve written on here this year has been some of the worst, sloppiest, most boring writing I’ve ever done in my life.
I’ve only sometimes re-read the posts to check for spelling/grammar/clarity of ideas communicated, which is especially terrible because most of the posts were written in a tired haze after 1 am. A lot of the posts have been lists. A lot were complaining about the discomforts of pregnancy. The vast majority were things I decided to write about there on the spot because I just had to write something to check off the box.
A few were pieces of writing I actually really enjoyed crafting and sending out into the world.
All those lists? The thrown-together, well-I’m-writing-something-might-as-well-think-out-loud lists? Those have actually propelled me into a lot of good actionable things this year. It’s crazy how just writing something down can validate that thought and make it real. Or how well list-making often focuses my mind and helps me recognize opportunities better when they come along.
Like, for example, I might never have enrolled in a sweater class if I hadn’t written down that it was something I wanted to learn. Not even so much in a mindset of like “I wrote it down so now I must do it,” but more like, “Yeah, that is something I’d like to do. Hmm, I wonder if that fabric & yarn shop I like has knitting classes. Oh they do. Oh, well, I don’t like these projects, but I’m interested in knitting a sweater. Oh and that class is on Saturdays when I could actually make that work. Hmm, well if a lot of their classes are on Sundays and this one is one I’m interested in and actually fits my schedule then maybe I should just go for it.” And then talk it through with my husband and hem and haw (ha?) over it a little longer and then, “Oh look they’re having a deal on classes. Ok yeah I’m gonna do this.” Click. Purchase. “Hi, I’m here for the sweater knitting class?”
So often I don’t recognize fully what it is I want or need until I say it out loud. Or, write it down.
Here’s something else I’ve gained (ok, at least a little) from writing here every day: I’m becoming a better writer. My voice is getting more–what’s the word?–stronger? clearer? more relaxed? Or maybe the answer is just more me. Not that all this necessarily shows in the trash I’ve been throwing at you daily here (sorry), but I confess I’ve also been doing some writing that I haven’t shared at all yet and I feel both more comfortable and confident in it than I did before.
And I’m going to wrap up in a minute now, but I also wanted to make it really transparent here that, while there have been a lot of positive things that have come as a result of writing here every day, in the moment I’ve mostly hated it. I think it was about Jan 2 when I first started regretting having made this goal and then I basically dragged myself through the year with both feet dragging behind through the dirt. But is there any other way through it? And, anyway, it was often the worst-written, least-thought-out posts that propelled me forward: the lists. So maybe it just goes to show that there’s a lot to be said for trash writing. And for honesty in the upward battle of betterment.
My husband asked me the other day how to become a better writer and I told him the thing I always hear other people say, which is to read more. And, yes, I agree with that and I do love reading other people’s writing, but the truer piece of advice I really ought to have given him was the one I’ve come to live by, which is: write more.
How else can you learn the way you like to write and what you like to share and what you don’t? How else but through all the muddled, terrible, embarrassing writing can the worthwhile bits emerge? And how else will you ever form the habit? For, to write is to think, far more than it ever is the matter of putting the letters down. To think in sentences and scenes and the sounds and sequences that feel right deep down. To think in poetry and spill it out in stories. Choosing words and letting words choose you. And one-upping the Neil Diamond fade out and just plain ending the thing.